Imagine being able to go an entire year or longer without catching a cold or the flu. Unfortunately, many of us get the sniffles at least once a year or more. The best way to combat this is to strengthen your immune system and cryotherapy can help you with that. Here are the five benefits of a cryotherapy immune system.
In Case You Missed It: What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a popular treatment, particularly among high performing athletes and celebrities, that involves exposing the body to subzero temperatures, usually -140 degrees. The extreme temperature causes various changes within the body, such as the blood vessels constricting and directing blood flow towards the vital organs. It causes your heart rate to increase, certain neurochemicals to be released and the brain becomes more alert as a result.
But there are, of course, secondary benefits to your immune system as a result.
Cryotherapy Immune System Benefits
1. Increases Blood Circulation
Cryotherapy envelops the body with cryogenically cooled air and lowers internal body temperature. This sends the body into “fight or flight” mode, causing blood circulation to increase and more blood to be sent to the vital organs in order to maintain body temperature.
This means there is more blood enriched with nutrients sent to the organs, which stimulates the body’s regulatory functions to work to their fullest potential - including the immune system.
2. Boosts the Effectiveness of Cellular Functions
As cryotherapy increases blood circulation, your heart is able to pump at full force, sending more blood packed with nutrients and oxygen to cells across your entire body, particularly to your body’s extremities. Better circulation helps to promote efficient cell growth and organ function.
For example, increased blood flow to the brain improves its function and keeps your mind sharp and focused and better flow of oxygen-rich blood helps muscles perform better. This same principle applies at a cellular level to give your immune system an incremented boost with every heartbeat.
3. Removes Toxins More Efficiently
The circulatory system not only provides organs with a fresh supply of nutrient-enriched blood but also removes waste products from the body. For example, the blood carries waste materials from body tissues to the kidneys where they’re filtered out and leaves the body in the form of urine. Blood also carries carbon dioxide, the by-product of respiration, out of the body.
It’s important that waste products are efficiently removed because the body needs to maintain a stable, consistent state - also known as homeostasis. Balanced internal conditions are necessary if the body is to work at its optimal peak.
Cryotherapy aids the process and leaves you healthier as a result.
4. Strengthens Immune System by Increasing White Blood Cell Count
Research has suggested that cryotherapy can increase the amount of white blood cells, the soldier cells that fight infection. This means your body can identify and more quickly attack foreign organisms which may cause illness.
As well as fortifying the immune system, cryotherapy also invokes other positive immune responses such as decreasing inflammation by boosting the number of anti-inflammatory cytokines and reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This leads to the body being able to heal damaged muscles more quickly.
This is why cryotherapy is so favoured among athletes - it reduces muscle soreness and enhances healing so they can quickly resume training.
5. Decreases Levels of Cortisol
Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. Although it has a number of important roles, such as regulating blood pressure and boosting energy, too much of it can lead to anxiety, insomnia and heart disease.
Studies have also found that elevated levels of cortisol and chronic stress can weaken the immune system and cause immunosuppression.
Cryotherapy is known to reduce cortisol levels by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormone. This is why people report feeling a burst of energy after cryotherapy - it helps to reduce stress and improves mood. By suppressing the effects of stress on the body, the immune system is boosted and your body can go back to efficiently fighting off illness once more.
Here’s a Little Bit More Info on Cryotherapy
There are three main branches of cryotherapy - two types of whole body and one localized.
- Whole body with liquid nitrogen - evaporating liquid nitrogen is used to cool the body. However, this method isn’t truly “whole body” because the user’s head is never allowed to come into contact with the liquid nitrogen due to the risk of asphyxiation.
- Whole body with cryogenically cooled air - instead of liquid nitrogen, the body is enveloped in cooled air. This is a much safer method and is truly “whole body” as the user’s head doesn’t stick out of the cryo chamber.
- Localized - only certain parts of the body are exposed to cryotherapy as opposed to the whole body, for example in a cryo facial.
Cryotherapy can help the body in many more ways than boosting the immune system. Most notably, it can improve athletic performance by reducing muscle soreness and inflammation after working out. This means the body can heal much more quickly and athletes can resume training again. That’s why athletes such as NBA star LeBron James have relied on cryotherapy treatments to enhance their rehabilitation process and overall performance.
Eternal youth is popular among Hollywood celebrities and cryotherapy is all the rage for its beauty-enhancing benefits - particularly its non-invasive, anti-aging abilities. Cryotherapy has been proven to increase collagen production and blood flow to the skin which promotes a firmer, glowing and more youthful appearance.
From wellbeing and improved immune system, to beauty or fitness regimes being improved, the benefits of cryotherapy are numerous and your options are plenty. Find out more about how cryotherapy works, its many benefits and other useful advice across our blog.